CARLSBAD — Carlsbad officials broke ground in June on the city’s Joint First Responders Training Facility, which will provide local access to necessary training for police, fire and other safety workers.
The city originally estimated the project’s cost to be $24.5 million. That cost has decreased significantly for a few reasons. An administrative building for the fire department has been deferred to a future date. The cost of labor and materials has decreased in recent years due to the recession. The city also is able to save on labor costs because, as a charter city, it is not required to pay union wages on construction jobs. Carlsbad was not a charter city when the project was first approved by voters in 2002. The project cost is now estimated to be $16.5 million for this phase, not including the administrative building.
The new safety center will provide city police, fire, street and utility crews the opportunity to train together on real-life scenarios. Currently, Carlsbad police and firefighter/paramedics must travel 40 miles to conduct basic training, and firefighters go to surrounding communities for other training. The safety training center will be built on a four-acre site next to the city Public Safety and Service Center on Orion Way, just east of El Camino Real and north of Faraday Avenue. Construction is expected to take about 18 months.
The project includes structures that can be used to simulate fires in residential and commercial buildings as well as help police conduct tactical training. The residential and commercial burn props have moveable walls to provide different training experiences. The structures can simulate smoke, heat and flames (through flashes of light) as well.
In addition to a traditional shooting range, the training center will include areas where different times of day and weather conditions can be simulated, providing a greater variety of real-life training situations. An open concrete area will be used for vehicle fire and rescue training. Space under the site will be outfitted for multiple uses, including underground rescues and confined space trainings.
When built, the training center will meet the highest benchmark in green building design. All the standard environmental measures will be taken into consideration: high efficiency lighting, low water-use fixtures, and state of the art heating and ventilation.
Water used during fire fighting trainings will be captured and used for landscape irrigation, and specially designed HEPA filters will remove lead and other particulates from the air caused by the discharge of weapons on the shooting range.
In addition to city staff training, the facility will also be available to other local public safety jurisdictions. The annual cost of operations and maintenance of the facility, estimated at $391,000, will be offset by $337,000 in savings from current training costs, resulting in a net annual cost of $54,000.
Ledcor Construction Inc. of San Diego was awarded the construction contract. The facility’s design team is RMM Design Group, and Dudek & Associates is providing construction management services.